Amanda Nunes finishes Miesha Tate in a hurry at UFC 200


On the greatest UFC stage yet, it was an uncelebrated woman from the birthplace of mixed martial arts who stole the show.

Brazilian Amanda Nunes rocked Miesha Tate with several first-round punches, bloodying Tate’s nose and ultimately grabbing a wilting Tate on the mat and applying a rear naked chokehold to win the women’s bantamweight championship Saturday night at UFC 200 at T-Mobile Arena.

Through tears, Nunes, 28, was simultaneously startled and boastful about her rise to a belt first given to Ronda Rousey and now on a fourth fighter’s waist in only three fights since November.


“I’m going back to Brazil to see my family and I’m bringing this [belt] with me,” Nunes said, exorting, “Brazil!”

Nunes was the fourth-ranked bantamweight before Saturday. She was given the fight after an uninspiring victory on the March card when Tate upset Holly Holm.

Nunes begged Tate and UFC bosses Lorenzo Fertitta and Dana White for the title shot, quickly thanking them and saying she told them she was worthy after getting Tate to tap out 3 minutes, 16 seconds into the first.

After emerging from a Tate takedown, Nunes landed the first of more than a half-dozen punches on Tate’s face.

“When I saw that she was hurt, I controlled myself,” Nunes said. “I tried to make things happen. I respect Miesha a lot.”

Said Tate: “She’s a fast starter, caught me fair and square. I got careless. I will come back stronger.”


Nunes now is positioned to be the opponent when Rousey declares herself ready to fight again, perhaps by the end of the year.

“I’m the new champion,” Nunes said. “Oh my gosh. I feel amazing.”

In the co-main event, former heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar returned to the octagon after more than a five-year absence and defeated No. 8-ranked heavyweight Mark Hunt, with all three judges giving Lesnar a 29-27 unanimous-decision victory.

Lesnar was leery in the first round of Hunt’s knockout punching power, Hunt’s trainers encouraging him by saying, “He felt the wind,” after a missed big punch.

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But Lesnar lunged at Hunt’s right leg and took him down to the cage, trying to maximize the effectiveness of his NCAA-schooled wrestling strength, peppering in punches on Hunt’s left ear and topping him again at the close of the round.

“It took me a little while to get acclimated,” said Lesnar, who turns 39 this week.

Asked about beating a top-10 heavyweight and whether it means a return to the UFC from WWE, Lesnar said, “One day at a time, I’m so happy to be in here.”

Earlier, while Anderson Silva could replace Jon Jones as an opponent, the veteran former UFC champion couldn’t match Jones’ caliber of fighting against light-heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier.

Cormier (18-1) won a unanimous decision by roughing up Silva in a non-title bout made after Jones was pulled Wednesday from what was supposed to be the main event. All three judges scored it 30-26 for Cormier.

And by beating Frankie Edgar by unanimous decision, former featherweight champion Jose Aldo impressively won the interim featherweight title left open by champion Conor McGregor’s decision to stage an Aug. 20 welterweight rematch with Nate Diaz.

Judges awarded the win to Aldo by scores of 49-46, 49-46, 48-47.

“I’m very happy,” Aldo (26-2) said, praising his coach. “Frankie’s a great guy, but I have one goal, and that’s to beat this guy,” he said, with McGregor sitting octagon-side, “and I will beat him.”


Brazil’s Aldo (26-2), coming off a 13-second knockout loss to McGregor in December, dropped Edgar late in the first round with a quick punch as the former lightweight champion jumped toward Aldo.

Also, second-ranked former heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez opened the pay-per-view portion of the card with a first-round TKO of seventh-ranked Travis Browne.

“Feels good to come back with a win,” said Velasquez, positioned now to fight the Sept. 10 winner of champion Stipe Miocic versus Alistair Overeem. “I want to fight the best guys.”

Follow Lance Pugmire on Twitter @latimespugmire